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Guild Meeting Ideas and Info
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Do you need some ideas for how to conduct your very first guild meeting? This suggested program outline can help you get started - First Meeting Outline.

Here are a couple of ready-to-use program outlines, from actual guild programs created and used by the North Coast Knitters, San Diego, CA – Program Outlines You Can Use.

SCROLL DOWN for miscellaneous information you may find useful, like these:

   ~ Other Program Ideas You Might  Try
   ~ Guild Dues, Expenses, Proof of Insurance, Non-Profit Status
   ~ Thoughts on Retail Shops and Local Guilds
   ~ Storing Historical Documents for Your Guild

Other Program Ideas You Might Try:
  • Schedule Field Trips – to a yarn store that’s a little farther away than most members usually visit. Or to an art museum to see their fabric displays. It’s always nice to get away, perhaps have a meal out together, and look at things from a different perspective. It’s amazing how just a change of location can perk up everyone’s outlook.
  • Hold a Contest – perhaps a scarf contest or a cap contest. Announce the winners in your local newspaper – complete with photos! Maybe couple the contest with a knit-a-scarf-for-charity project. In addition to competition-winning scarves, your members will knit scarves that can be donated to a shelter for adults and children.
  • Bring In a Teacher for a Workshop. It can be about knitting or something else, like home décor!
  • Teach Knitting to the Next Generation – Invite a local Girl Scout troop or other young people’s group to attend – and teach them knitting. Round up some inexpensive supplies they can take with them, and tell them where to buy more.
  • Knit Up Some Charity Projects – check with your local hospital, for example. Do they need chemo caps? preemie caps? etc. Don’t forget the Precious Pals™ program – start looking for stuffed animals on sale and then knit up precious outfits for each critter. Donate these cuddly pals locally or send to TKGA to present at the next Conference to the agencies in that area.
  • Hold a meeting on identifying yarns. Nearly everyone has something in their stash they can’t quite identify any more. Reference the Fall 2002 issue of Cast On for the article by Pat Shorten on "Taking the Mystery Out of Fibers.” Back issues are available for order. (For example, Pat suggests you can identify some fibers by burning a piece and noting the smell and ash!)
  • Have a Ball-Winding Meeting. Borrow as many ball winders as possible and have a meeting of ball-winding; combine it with reports from your members who’ve attended conferences.
  • Have an Auction to Bid on Brown Bags of Yarn – and send the monies you raise to charity. Everyone brings a brown paper bag filled with a ball or several balls of yarn they want to auction. Not knowing what you’re bidding on is half the fun! (Or do a simple yarn exchange – put all of the yarns on a table and draw numbers to see who gets to pick first, second, etc.)
  • Explore a Vest Pattern or Other Outfit that your Whole Guild can Make and Wear, so everyone matches when you go on outings or to the TKGA Convention.
If you come up with an unusually great program, share it with us and we’ll share it with other guilds in the next issue of the Swatches newsletter that is sent to your President.

Be sure to mark your calendar to join in the learning and the fun at our Regional Conferences and annual National Convention. Watch your mailbox for registration brochures or check www.TKGA.com for information (click on Events & News and then all listings below that header). When our events are in your region, your guild can also get involved by volunteering for the various committees needed – an important part in making these events both fun and successful!

Guild Dues, Expenses, Proof of Insurance, Non-Profit Status

Most guilds affiliated with The Knitting Guild Association have expenses and charge dues – only 19% collect no dues. Most guilds say they charge between $10 and $20 in annual fees for meeting space rental, newsletter and meeting notification postage and copying expenses, and remuneration for special speakers.

When guilds are small and meetings are held in homes, there is little expense. Guild structure remains informal and group "business” is simple. The treasury may involve selecting an individual you trust to collect the money and pay expenses. Another individual may oversee and provide accountability.

But as groups grow, their issues become more complex. A formal organizational structure is needed in order to maintain "business”. A larger group may find it difficult to secure meeting space, for example. Rental may be expensive, or the renter may require proof of insurance. If your group holds fund-raisers, taxability will need to be addressed. As you begin to face these types of issues, you may want to seek advice from some experts – a lawyer or tax consultant.

Groups with larger amounts of money should establish a formal treasury arrangement – a bank account and regular audits. Learn your bank’s requirements for opening an organization account. At the very least, a bank will require information about your group – your by-laws, a written resolution from the guild or its officers asking that the account be established, and a statement of who will have signature authority. Some banks may only provide accounts to nonprofit groups or business entities. Do some research to see if it is worthwhile to seek nonprofit status through the Internal Revenue Service. Can your guild be covered under The Knitting Guild Association’s nonprofit status? The answer is no, and has to do with the way TKGA relates to the guilds. While each guild is registered with TKGA in order to show their guild member affiliation and support for TKGA, each TKGA Guild is a separate entity from the TKGA Headquarters' nonprofit identification.

This means that if your guild desires to establish itself as a nonprofit organization with a tax ID number (for purposes of securing insurance for meeting space or a guild bank account or non-taxed purchases, etc.), it will need to have its own Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation, which will state that you intend to form a group that will operate as a nonprofit corporation (legal term used by the IRS). You can find more information about the IRS and nonprofits at http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits.

You will also need to check with your State to see if they have any special language they want you to put into Articles of Organization. The following Web site can help you find the information you need for your state: http://www.governmentguide.com/main.adp.

While incorporating may seem like a bother for a small group, it does help resolve issues for large or small groups, such as establishing a bank account and securing insurance.

If you have questions and want to talk to other guilds to see what they have done, go to the guild listing in the TKGA Web site. Send an e-mail to a couple of them, to see if they are willing or able to answer questions. Some may not respond, but others may be very willing to share their journey. To locate some of the larger guilds, look for those that have Web sites.

Thoughts on Retail Shops and Local Guilds

Guilds sometimes have difficulty finding meeting places that do not charge rent or require them to have insurance. Retail shops can be a solution for them. It can be a win-win for the guild AND the shop, as long as each has a good understanding of what the arrangement parameters are.  Shops may find that hosting guild meetings provides them with added visibility among knitters and increased traffic, but it is important that shops be careful not to hold unreasonable expectations of the guild members. Shops have been known to drive away local groups because of demands that they only buy supplies from their store, etc.  This can be an especially touchy situation if there are other knitting shops in the area.

Shops also need to consider what hosting a guild can mean in the way of obligations. For example, will the guild meet during business hours? If so, is there adequate parking so that other customers can easily get to the shop? Or will the guild meet after business hours? If so, are employees available to supervise? Nothing can put a wedge between a shop and a guild faster than an accusation of theft (whether true or not) because no one was there to keep watch.

Shops who "found” a guild also need to keep in mind that TKGA does not consider those who "found” guilds to be "owners” of the guild. (Dues paid to start a guild do not make one the guild’s "owner”.)

Hopefully, these thoughts will help guilds and shops take in all considerations when thinking of working together – and a happy mutual arrangement can be set in place. It can be rewarding for both sides! 


Storing Historical Documents for Your Guild


What do you do when archives and scrapbooks and historical items start to pile up? Each local chapter or guild runs into these types of issues.

Note that for some groups which are registered with their state as nonprofits, it is important to keep any paperwork related to who you are and what you do (minutes and financial records). But other documents may not be necessary.

If your guild hasn't applied for nonprofit status with your state, your only reason for having historical scrapbooks and other archives is to merely serve yourselves. Some groups hang onto everything and have a historian who stores them and references them on special occasions. It is, for example, nice to be able to look through such things when you plan a big anniversary (marking 10 years, 25 years, etc.). If the items are piling up, you might want to appoint someone to cull out items you think might be important for an anniversary and dispose of the rest.

Piles of documents and scrapbooks that no one ever looks at can be a burden to whoever has to store them, so while it is hard to throw things away, a time may come when it is necessary. Create new memories, instead of dusting old ones!
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